Carl Gustav Jung
Researched and written by: Ali Jadali
|I attest that the following biography is a product of my own original
|I. Childhood/Family Life
Carl Gustav Jung was born July 26, 1875
in a small village called Kessewil in northern Switzerland which is near
the famous Rhine Falls (Wehr, 2000). His father was Paul Jung, a
country parson, and his mother was Emilie Preiswerk Jung. He was
surrounded by a fairly well educated extended family, including quite a
few clergymen and some eccentrics as well. As far as Carl Jung was
concerned, his childhood was lonely, isolated, and unhappy. He was
a rather solitary adolescent, who did not care much for school, and especially
could not take competition. His father, a clergyman who had apparently
lost his faith, was moody and irritable and his mother suffered from emotional
disorders. Her behavior was off and on where she could instantly
change from a loving housewife to an incoherent demon. Due to the
inconsistencies of his mother and father, he never did learn to trust in
them, and that behavior extended to the rest of the world. He turned
his unconscious world into his decision making center. He used his
dreams and fantasies to help resolve problems and make decisions (Shultz,
Jung attended the University of
Basel, Switzerland, and graduated in 1900 with a medical degree.
Upon graduating, he took a position at the Burghoeltzli Mental Hospital
in Zurich. In 1905 he began to teach classes in psychiatry at the
University of Zurich, but resigned after several years to devote time to
writing, research, and private practice (Wehr, 2000).
II. Adult Life
In 1903, Jung married Emma Rauschenbach.
He had always been a huge admirer of Sigmund Freud, and in 1907 Jung’s
study on schizophrenia led him to close collaboration with him. The
story goes that after they met, Freud canceled all his appointments for
the day, and they talked for 13 hours straight. Jung eventually opened
a private practice and traveled with Freud in 1909 to the United States
for lectures and meetings. Under Freud’s insistence, Jung became the first
president of the International Psychoanalytic Association. Freud
eventually came to see Jung as the crown prince of psychoanalysis and his
heir apparent (Wehr, 2000).
But Jung had never been entirely
sold on Freud’s theory. In 1909, their relationship began to take
a turn for the worse during a trip to America. They had been entertaining
themselves by analyzing each other’s dreams, when Freud started to show
resistance to Jung’s efforts to analyze his dreams. Freud actually
fainted twice during these conversations. Freud went on to say that
he had to stop for the fact that he felt he was losing his authority.
This insulted Jung. The end of his father-son relationship with Freud
had a profoundly disturbing effect on Jung. He withdrew from the
psychoanalytic movement and suffered a six-year-long breakdown during which
he had fantasies of mighty floods sweeping over northern Europe (possibly
visions of what he saw for WWI) (Wehr, 2000).
When Jung was 38 years old, he was overwhelmed
with intense emotional problems that went on for three years. Interestingly,
Freud also experienced emotional difficulties at the same stage in his
life. Jung actually believed that he was going insane and could not
get himself to do any intellectual work or even read a scientific book.
He began to contemplate suicide and kept a gun next to his bed “in case
he felt he had passed beyond the point of no return.” He dealt with
his emotional problems the same way he did as a child, which was by confronting
his unconscious mind (Schultz, 2000)
World War I was a painful period of
self-examination for Jung. However, it was also the birthplace of
one of the most interesting theories of personalities the world has ever
seen. After the war, Jung traveled widely. His interest in
mythology took him to Africa for field expeditions during the 1920’s.
There, he studied cognitive processes of preliterate people. He was
appointed professor at the Federal Polytechnical University in Zurich,
and held the job for 10 years until poor health forced him to resign in
1946. Jung’s first published paper was On the Psychology and Pathology
of So-Called Occult Phenomena and he was credited with writing The Psychology
of the Unconscious (1912) and Symbols of Transformation (1912). He
began to retreat from public attention after his wife died in 1955.
The couple never had children. Carl Jung died on June 6, 1961, in
Zurich (Schultz, 2000)
III. Professional Accomplishments
Jung developed his own theories, which
he called ‘analytical psychology’, to distinguish them from Freud’s psychoanalysis
and Adler’s individual psychology. The goal of Jung’s analytical
psychology is “true expression” which consists in giving form to whatever
is observed. Its focus is on inner growth instead of social relationships
(Stevens, 1996). Jung believed that we are shaped not only by our
past, but also by our hopes, goals, and aspirations (Cox, 1968)
Carl Jung also delved more deeply into
the idea of the unconscious mind. He added a new dimension, called
the collective unconscious, which he explained as the inherited experiences
of the human species and their animal ancestors. Jung discussed two
levels of the unconscious mind. The first one is the personal unconscious,
which contains memories, impulses, wishes, and other experiences in a person’s
life that have been forgotten. This level of unconscious is not very
deep. A level below the personal unconscious is the collective unconscious,
which is unknown to the person. It contains all of the experiences
of the previous generations, including our animal ancestors. We are
not aware of these experiences or have images of them, unlike the personal
unconscious. Inside the collective unconscious are inherited tendencies
called archetypes. Jung classifies these as inherited tendencies
that dispose a person to behave similarly to ancestors who confronted similar
situations. The 4 archetypes that occur most frequently are the persona,
the anima and animus, the shadow, and the self. The persona is the
mask that each of us wears that represents us as we want others to see
us. The anima and animus refer to the characteristics that each of
us shows of our opposite sex. Anima refers to feminine characteristics
in men and animus refers to masculine characteristics in females.
The shadow archetype is the animalistic part of our personality.
The shadow forces us to do things that we would not ordinarily do.
The self is known to be the most important archetype. It balances
everything in the unconscious and provides the personality with a sense
of stability (Shultz, 2000).
Jung also concentrated on the
introversion and extravert aspects of an individual’s personality.
He stated that the extravert directed his or her energy outside the self
to other people and events whereas the introvert is more introspective
and resistant to external influences. He goes on to say that every
individual shows both of these attitudes but one will always over power
the other (Schultz, 2000).
Jung’s theories also expressed that personality differences can be
expressed through four functions. Thinking, feeling, sensing, and
intuiting are all ways in which we adjust to the outside external world
and the internal world. Thinking is the process that provides us
with meaning and understanding. Feeling is a subjective process of
weighing and valuing. Sensing is the perception of the visual and
intuiting involves unconscious perception (Cox, 1968).
Carl Jung was also the founder of the
word association test. Jung would say a word to the patient and ask
the individual to say the first word that came to mind. After a process
that involved measuring how long it took for the response and changes in
breathing, among other things, there could be a detection of an unconscious
emotional response to the stimulus word (Schultz, 2000).
| Cox, David. Modern Psychology, the teachings
of Carl Gustav Jung. New York, Barnes and Noble, 1968.
Wehr, Gerhard. Jung, a Biography. Boston,
Random House, 1987.
Shultz, D.P., Shultz, S.E. The History
of Modern Psychology: Seventh Edition. Harcourt College Publishers, 2000.
Stevens, Anthony. Carl Gustav Jung: book review.
New Statesman and Society, June 1996. (9), 40-41.